December 30, 2011

Top 11 of 2011 - #1

My #1 favorite book of 2011 is: 

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Oh, how I love this book!
Read my review

Description from Goodreads

"basis, n.

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment
does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time."

December 29, 2011

Top 11 of 2011 - #2

My #2 favorite book of 2011 is: 

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

This book kept me up all night! I couldn't stop reading. 

Description from Goodreads

"It's been three years since the devastating accident . . .
 three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I StayWhere She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance."

December 28, 2011

Top 11 of 2011 - #3

My #3 favorite book of 2011 is: 

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

This is definitely a swoonworthy read! 

Description from Goodreads

"Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door."

December 27, 2011

Top 11 of 2011 - #4

My #4 favorite book of 2011 is: 

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

Read my review

Description from Goodreads

"Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.
Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.
The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last."

December 26, 2011

Top 11 of 2011 - #5

My #5 favorite book of 2011 is: 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Description from Goodreads

"Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. 

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out. When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?"

Top 11 of 2011 - #6

My #6 favorite book of 2011 is: 

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Read my review

Description from Goodreads
"Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin" — Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.
She has seen both these dreams come true.
At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately half-hearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy." 

December 24, 2011

Top 11 of 2011 - #7

My #7 favorite book of 2011: 

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

This book made me laugh so much. And the audio version is excellent. It's read by the author, and she does some hilarious, spot-on accents. 

Description from Goodreads:

"The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again."

December 23, 2011

Top 11 of 2011 - #8

My #8 favorite book of 2011 is: 

The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill

I reviewed this book for VOYA in August. It's not one I would have initially picked up on my own, but I'm glad that I did! It's a really great middle grade read. 

Description from Goodreads

"When Jack is sent to Hazelwood, Iowa, to live with his crazy aunt and uncle, he expects a summer of boredom. Little does he know that the people of Hazelwood have been waiting for him for a long time. . . .

When he arrives, three astonishing things happen: First, he makes friends-not imaginary friends but actual friends. Second, he is beaten up by the town bully; the bullies at home always ignored him. Third, the richest man in town begins to plot Jack's imminent, and hopefully painful, demise. It's up to Jack to figure out why suddenly everyone cares so much about him. Back home he was practically, well, invisible.

The Mostly True Story of Jack is a tale of magic, friendship, and sacrifice. It's about things broken and things put back together. Above all, it's about finding a place to belong."

Friday Five (3)

It's been awhile since I shared a Friday Five. Here we go...

1. My husband has to work on Christmas, so we exchanged gifts early. He got 3/4 of my gifts from Barnes and Noble. He is trained very well. ;)

2. Speaking of Barnes and Noble, my parents gave me the gift of a Nook upgrade! If you bring in your 1st generation Nook and purchase one of the newer versions, you get $50 Barnes and Noble gift card. I think this deal is only good through Christmas Eve. I ended up choosing the Nook Simple Touch and I love it. I'll post pictures of all my bookish gifts soon.

3.It's been a pretty rough month at work. My library is in the midst of a financial crisis, and we've already gone through a couple rounds of layoffs. We'll be reducing operating hours soon. I still have a job (thankfully!) but I'm going to have some schedule changes and reduced benefits. I'm happy with the sacrifices if it means I get to keep working at the library I love, though.

4. This week I saw a new doctor about a long list of seemingly random symptoms I've been experiencing for quite some time which have worsened lately with stress/anxiety. She was really patient and listened to all my concerns, and she gave me some options for managing the different symptoms. I feel positive that I'll see some improvements soon. It's just nice to know I'm not crazy, and that these symptoms are actually related chronic conditions that can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.

5. I've almost reached my reading goal for the year (111). I need to finish the 2 books I'm reading now, and then read 2 more by December 31st. I think I can do it!

Happy holidays!

December 22, 2011

Top 11 of 2011 - #9

My #9 pick for 2011 is: 

Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres

This is another great audiobook read by the author. 
(I promise there will be some print books on my list eventually too!)

Description from Goodreads
"Sometimes the greatest things are the most embarrassing." Ellen Degeneres' winning, upbeat candor has made her show one of the most popular, resilient and honored daytime shows on the air. (To date, it has won no fewer than 31 Emmys.) Seriously... I'm Kidding, Degeneres' first book in eight years, brings us up to date about the life of a kindhearted woman who bowed out of American Idol because she didn't want to be mean. Lively; hilarious; often sweetly poignant."

December 21, 2011

Top 11 of 2011 - #10

My #10 pick for 2011 is: 
If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't) by Betty White

I listened to the audiobook version of this book. It's read by Betty, and I highly recommend it!

Description from Goodreads

"It-girl Betty White delivers a hilarious, slyly profound take on love, life, celebrity, and everything in between. 

Drawing from a lifetime of lessons learned, seven-time Emmy winner Betty White's wit and wisdom take center stage as she tackles topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, television, fans, love for animals, and the brave new world of celebrity. If You Ask Me mixes her thoughtful observations with humorous stories from a seven- decade career in Hollywood. Longtime fans and new fans alike will relish Betty's candid take on everything from her rumored crush on Robert Redford (true) to her beauty regimen (I have no idea what color my hair is and I never intend to find out") to the Facebook campaign that helped persuade her to host Saturday Night Live despite her having declined the hosting job three times already. 

Featuring all-new material, with a focus on the past fifteen years of her life, If You Ask Me is funny, sweet, and to the point-just like Betty White."

December 20, 2011

Top 11 of 2011 - #11

I've been neglecting my blog lately (sorry!). But I'm back to share my favorite reads of the year.  On Twitter, librarians are sharing their top 11 reads of 2011 with the hashtag #libfavs2011. I thought I'd share my picks here too. 

My #11 favorite book of the year: 
Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me by Chelsea's Family, Friends & Other Victims

I listened to the audiobook version (read my review). 

If you're making a top 11 list, what's your #11 pick? 


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